PHOTOGRAPHER Kirk Elliott was recently invited by the Piton Management Area (PMA) to address the residents of Fond Gens Libres at the base of Gros Piton in Soufriere.
Many of the tour guides for the Gros Piton Nature Trail hail from this community and Elliott was invited to address them following his St Lucia Photo Tour’s recent Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence award.
Elliott shared some of the tourism best practices he uses in business to achieve the ultimate visitor experience recounted on Trip Advisor in reviews from his clients. More than one visitor has decided on a Saint Lucia vacation over other destinations, just so they could take the St Lucia Photo Safari excursion based solely on Elliott’s online reputation..
He also explored challenges and opportunities with residents and was particularly moved by the input of Mr. Francis Alexander, who spoke about wanting to see a scholarship fund created for the children of Fond Gens Libres. Being a strong advocate of education as a vital key to capacity building, poverty reduction and wealth creation, Elliott immediately pledged $500 towards the best performing student from the community who passed the recent Common Entrance exam.
Young Tamie Alexander was the only child from the community who sat Common Entrance this year and she now attends the Choiseul Secondary School. In a simple community ceremony, Elliott presented a cheque for $500 to Tamie’s mother, Marie Williams and encouraged the students to be the best that she can be, pointing out that she will reap the rewards of her efforts in years to come.
As further encouragement to perform, Elliott then took Tamie, accompanied by her tour guide sister, Ms Marvel Charles, to the Fond St. Jacques Co-operative Credit Union where he opened an account for her in the amount of $100 and encouraged her to let this be the start of her nurturing and growth of money just like a prized fruit tree that is watered and cared for.
Tamie’s mother, thanked Kirk Elliott Photography for the gift of education for her daughter, saying she will help the child make the best of this opportunity.
Elliott promised to follow up on how Tamie performs in school and has pledged to continue the $500 annual bursary as long as she maintains an annual class average of at least 75%.